With rumors of an XFL return, or some kind of football league, coming from Vince McMahon’s new business entity Alpha Entertainment, LLC, the news that he sold close to $100 million worth of stock generated a lot of headlines.
His filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission on the sale of 3.34 million shares indicates that it was done to fund Alpha Entertainment, which WWE had previously clarified was separate from the company for which McMahon is Chairman and CEO, and was established to “explore investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment landscapes, including professional football”.
News of Vince’s sell-off came out late Thursday, so there was extra attention on WWE’s stock price on Friday (Dec. 22). Wall Street didn’t appear to be thrilled, with shares dropping a little more than 7% to close at $29.55, the lowest it’s been in weeks.
A lot of places latched onto this as an indicator that investors, like a lot of people, think a XFL reboot is a bad idea. That may or may not be true, but it’s pretty unlikely that’s the reason for WWE’s stock swoon.
Pessimism about a new football league would leave Vince with issues raising money for Alpha Entertainment, not a bear-ish outlook on his main company. Citigroup’s analysts did downgrade WWE from a “buy” recommendation to “neutral”, which likely impacted the price. It also could be an indicator that investors see the stock sale as a possible sign McMahon is interested in selling WWE.
Now, I’m just a guy with a bachelor’s in business administration and some mutual funds in my “portfolio”, so please don’t take this as expert opinion or investment advice. But for us wrestling fans, the bigger story here might not be the XFL. It might be Vince selling or leaving WWE.
On a recent Wrestling Observer Radio (subscription required but recommended), Dave Meltzer discussed McMahon being more open to the idea of selling WWE following the multi-billion dollar sale of UFC. Everything that’s happened since the “XFL return” story broke not only points to a Vince-backed football league - they could be signs he’s moving in that direction.
WWE is publicly traded, but it’s Vince McMahon-controlled. If he gets out, that opens up all kinds of questions.
Who’s buying? Disney is a name that gets mentioned a lot... Undertaker could be an Avenger! That WrestleMania ride could become a reality!
What would new owners mean for the existing power players? Would Stephanie and Shane stick around without their old man? Is Triple H’s ascension to running Raw and SmackDown not as much of a lock as we’ve long assumed it is?
We’re a long way from having answers to these questions. The sale of a company the size of WWE - if that’s even in the cards - can take months or even years. But we’re just a wrestling blog, so we can speculate away in the interim!
What do you think, Cagesiders?